The attention of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has been drawn to an act of grave infringement of the human rights of Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme by the Governor of Cross River State and some members of the State House of Assembly.
It is heart-breaking to note that at this point of our struggle to stop all forms of discrimination in our society, we will be awakened to such discrimination on grounds of ethnicity and political zoning.
Hon. Justice Akon Ikpeme has been the Acting Chief Judge of the state since March 12, 2019, following the retirement of Hon Justice Michael Edem. She has served meritoriously and despite several challenges along the way has accomplished and received a commendation from the Honourable President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Z. A. Bulkachuwa (CFR) as she then was, for her immense contribution towards achieving a sustainable and independent democracy in Nigeria.
Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State but was born in Cross River State. She married a Cross Riverian blessed with children; She started her career with the Cross-River State Ministry of Justice and rose to the position of Director of Public Prosecution and further appointed a Judge in Cross River State. Even her father was a permanent secretary in Cross River and retired here. Her state of indigene cannot now be used against her. We must not allow ethnicity and politics to be the deciding factor in the appointment of a Chief Judge of Cross River State.
Justice Akon Ikpeme, being the most senior judge in the State, is the rightful person to act as Chief Judge of the State, since nothing else disqualifies her. The government cannot impose a junior based on tribalism and zoning. Issues such as geopolitical zoning, tribe have no place in evaluating this decision.
Section 271(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) confirms this position and is further supported by our legal professional rules of practice. The profession does not tolerate a deviation from the practice.
FIDA Nigeria restates that discrimination based on the state of origin amounts to grave injustice being that the constitution says, ‘the most senior judge of the High Court… and not the most senior indigenous judge of the High Court’.
Since there is no legal impediment against Hon Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme who qualifies, we can conclude that the rule of law supports her confirmation.
Section 271. (1) of the Constitution says “the Governor of the State shall make the appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of a State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.
The action of the Executive Governor of Cross River State in appointing a junior judge instead of the Hon Justice Akon B. Ikpeme, who is the next senior Judge in the hierarchy of Cross River State Judiciary is a grave injustice
We, therefore, appeal to his Excellency, the Governor and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly to retract his action which is discriminatory and a breach of the constitution.
FIDA condemns in its entirety the practice of Chief Executives of States attempting to impose their preferred candidates for an appointment either as Judges or Chief Judge of a state. The National Judicial Council is independent and should remain so; there is an order of precedence involving the appointment of a Chief Judge of the state.
FIDA Nigeria unites with other groups in strongly condemning the undue interference and discrimination. This position is sad at a time like this when we are planning towards the celebration of the International Women’s Day, IWD themed: ‘Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’ … this is a clear infringement of the rights of an honourable woman.
We, therefore, call on His Excellency, the Governor of Cross River State to do the right thing and prove to the world that he abhors all forms of discrimination by swearing in the most senior Judge who has been acting effectively.
FIDA NIGERIA stands against all forms of discrimination and injustice. Let’s stop undue interference with the Judiciary and its processes. The independence of the Judiciary must be assured and guaranteed.
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation made up of over 2,000 female lawyers with several years of experience in utilizing the law to address social problems in Nigeria. The organization’s mandate is the enhancement, promotion, protection and preservation of the rights and welfare of women and children in Nigeria. FIDA Nigeria implements key projects and activities aimed at providing access to justice to indigent persons, particularly women and children.
FIDA Nigeria is recruiting to fill the position below:
Job title: Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
Vacancy Type: One-year fixed-term, renewable
Terms of Reference
This position will be responsible for monitoring and evaluation of projects implemented by FIDA Nigeria. The M & E Officer will work under the overall guidance and supervision of the FIDA Nigeria National President/Country Vice President, National Secretary and other National Executives, and report to them through the Program Manager.
Duties and Responsibilities
The successful candidate will carry out the following tasks:
- Develop and strengthen monitoring, inspection and evaluation procedures;
- Monitor all project activities, expenditures and progress towards achieving the project output with impact indicator;
- Monitor and evaluate overall progress on achievement of results;
- Provide feedback to the Program Manager on project strategies and activities;
- Suggest strategies for project management to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the project by identifying bottlenecks in completing project activities and developing plans to minimize or eliminate such bottlenecks;
- Report monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annual progress on all projects to the Country Vice President/ National President, Deputy and Program Manager;
- Conduct capacity assessment on existing monitoring and evaluation system;
- Provide inputs, information and statistics for periodic reports to the project management team and development partners;
- Participate in annual project reviews and planning workshops and assist the Program Manager in preparing relevant reports;
- Perform other duties as required.
- Demonstrates professional competence in women and children’s rights and rule of law as well as, knowledge of related policies and practices at the national, regional and international levels;
- Demonstrates knowledge of programme management cycle, including monitoring and reporting;
- Ability to identify and contribute to the solution of problems/issues with a display of persistence;
- Conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, and achieving results;
- Motivated by professional rather than personal concerns;
2. Team work:
- Ability to collaborate with colleagues within and outside of FIDA Nigeria to achieve organizational goals;
- Ability to solicit inputs by genuinely valuing the ideas and expertise of others;
- Willingness to learn from others;
Support and act following the team and organizational decisions.
3. Planning & Organizing:
- Ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate, and monitor work while prioritizing competing demands;
- Foresight for risks and contingencies when planning.
- Ability to write clearly and concisely and to communicate effectively with a range of audiences, including the ability to prepare reports and make presentations in a variety of fora;
- Ability to conduct presentations by clearly formulating positions on issues, articulating options concisely, conveying maximum necessary information as well as making and defending recommendations.
- At least 5 years of experience in the design and implementation of M&E in development projects implemented by national/international NGOs/UN bodies/Government;
- Experience in designing tools and strategies for data collection, analysis and production of reports;
- University Degree preferably in Business Administration, Economics, Statistics or any of the social sciences;
- Expertise in analysing data using statistical software;
- Strong training & facilitation skills.
Qualified candidates should send their curriculum vitae and application addressed to the Country Vice-President/National President to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The subject of the e-mail should be “Application for the Position of Monitoring and Evaluation Officer”.
Deadline: 28 February 2020.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria is alarmed at the total politicization of most issues going on in the country, particularly legal cases that have been referred to the courts for adjudication.
We refer to the recent incident where the Hon Justice Mary Odili, JSC is a victim of abuse, attacks on her person and character, not to mention an invasion of her privacy because of a judgment delivered by a panel she headed in the normal course of her work.
Hon Justice Odili, JSC as a human being, Nigerian and especially as a Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria, the highest court of Record in the country deserves respect and protection.
The attacks on her character and premises are certainly not the way to go because of a perceived ‘unfavourable’ judgment. FIDA NIGERIA sees this as violence against a reputable woman carrying out her lawful duty.
Whilst members of the public are entitled to express their opinions freely, it must, however, be done lawfully without infringing the rights of another.
Consequently, we condemn these attacks and the invasion of her personal space.
The Judiciary as the third arm of government must be treated as such, and accorded the full status and respect it deserves; blackmail and threats to an Honourable Justice are of grave concern and certainly does not guarantee the independence of the judiciary.
We call for quick action to stop this negative trend and to stop the inciting statements that heat the polity. There are proper and well laid out legal protocols and processes to be followed when you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the judgement. FIDA Nigeria encourages the use of these processes rather than the tarnishing of the good reputation of a great woman who has diligently and passionately served her country and reached the pinnacle of her profession.
FIDA Nigeria condemns the aforementioned and calls on the Federal Government and indeed all relevant security agencies in the country to be more proactive and vigilant in their duties; they must protect the judiciary and keep them independent without any undue interference.
Lady Justice is blind and impartial; let us work to keep her as such.
Signed for FIDA Nigeria:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National publicity secretary
FIDA Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with the theme: “Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerating Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation.”
Female Genital Mutilation has a long standing physical and mental effect on the persons subjected to it.
The practice violates a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death
Nigeria as a member of the United Nations has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents. Hence, Nigeria is bound by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being”.
In addition, Section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, provides that “every Nigerian individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly (a) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Furthermore, Section 11 of the Child Rights Act (2003) also protects the right to the dignity of the child while Section 6 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, expressly prohibits female circumcision or genital mutilation.
There is no gainsaying that there are a plethora of statutes and laws in Nigeria that prohibit this harmful practice.
However, the issue that confronts us is the implementation of these laws. Laws are made to tackle and eliminate crime, but when not implemented, they become paper tigers. The Girl child and indeed women are major victims of this act often running away and seeking asylum
We as a people also need to realize that though the government owes us a responsibility to protect our rights, we also need to ensure we take action to safeguard these same rights. The perpetrators of this heinous crime are living amongst us. Young women and girls have suffered seriously as a result of this crime, it is time we all stand up against these practices. Men have lost their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to this harmful practice that many believe is a custom that must be upheld. NO tradition should be practiced to the detriment of our lives and loved ones.
As human beings, we have the right to choose what happens to our bodies, we have the right to abolish harmful traditional practices and to celebrate the noble and harmless ones. Lives can be preserved if we all including the young ones take a stand to make a difference. We can achieve all things if we act in unison and speak with one voice.
FIDA Nigeria as an organization that protects and promotes the rights of women in Nigeria in line with the theme calls the youths to action. The future we wish to see, starts today. The youth must take a stand and challenge the “norm” in their respective cultures. No more lives should be lost on account of our blind allegiance to a dreadful tradition.
FIDA Nigeria also calls on the government to implement the laws that have been enacted to prohibit Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria. Having taken the first step in abolishing the practice, government can and should take further steps to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime so it serves as a deterrent to others.
FIDA Nigeria will continue to do all within her mandate to fight against Female Genital Mutilation and work to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from this menace. We believe that every human life matters, and must be treated with respect and dignity.
FIDA NIGERIA stands against Female Genital Mutilation, let’s put an end to it.
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National publicity secretary
FIDA Nigeria invites job applications for a Finance Officer position at the National Secretariat. The deadline for submission is Thursday, 23 January, 2020. All applications should be submitted to email@example.com. Other details are in the attached terms of reference. TERMS OF REFERENCE>>
FIDA Nigeria invites applications for a consultancy to develop a training manual on land use and rights for training the Association of Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) in implementation of our Action Aid-funded Women, Voice and Leadership project.
As part of efforts to promote and protect the rights of Women and Girls in Nigeria, FIDA Nigeria, with funding from @ActionAidNigeria through the Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project, announces the commencement of a 5-year Project in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with focus on capacity building of networks, groups, associations and movements of women’s organization to create cultural, political and legislative change with a view to achieving increased effectiveness of sub-national, national and platform, networks and alliances to affect policy, legal and social change in Nigeria. This project is fully supported by Global Affairs Canada.@CanHCNigeria
FIDA Kano in conjunction with Isa Wali empowerment celebrated the 16 days of activism 2019 by visiting four remote villages each in the local governments of Rano, Warawa, Dawakin tofa, and Bichi. They were educated on Persons with Disability Law, Human Rights, Children and Young Person’s Law and also Rape (preventive measures and steps to take after occurrence). More than ten thousand hijabs and caps were distributed and also more than twenty thousand flyers and stickers.
On the 6th of December 2019, FIDA Plateau in furtherance with the 16 days of activism, visited the Jos Correctional Center. Before the visit, an assessment was carried out on the pressing needs, which included drugs for those going through psychological trauma.
While in the center, a legal clinic was held for some of the inmates. Also presentations of items such as toiletries, panties, detergents, baby things for expectant mothers etc.
FIDA Kogi in collaboration with the National Association of Female Journalist (NAWOJ), engaged in a sensitization walk to the State CID and Kogi State house of assembly in furtherance of the 16 days of activism. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill was presented at the floor of the house for the first time.